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(Spellslinger #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  12,414 ratings  ·  1,878 reviews
There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is simply to reach the age of sixteen. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things.

Magic is a con ga
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by Hot Key Books
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Popular Answered Questions
Sebastien Castell Excellent question. In fact, it is in the same universe as the Greatcoats but on a different continent. The lands of Spellslinger are more akin to the…moreExcellent question. In fact, it is in the same universe as the Greatcoats but on a different continent. The lands of Spellslinger are more akin to the American frontier.(less)
Sebastien Castell Yes, I always endeavour to make each book a complete novel even when it's part of a series. That holds true with each volume of Spellslinger as well.

Yes, I always endeavour to make each book a complete novel even when it's part of a series. That holds true with each volume of Spellslinger as well.



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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  12,414 ratings  ·  1,878 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Reread 2018

I freaking loved this book!

I am so glad this is book one of a trilogy/duology/series, whatever because it rocked my little world!

Kellen (Kel) is a boy who is trying to get his magic to work. If he doesn't get his magic to work by his 16 bday and win in the trials, then he's up the creek without a paddle so to speak.

Kel's parents are a high powered family and Kel is just there so to speak. He gets into trouble a lot but I love him. Then he meets Ferius Parfax who just happens to save
Helena Paris
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well, this was nonstop fun and action! It’s been a while since I’ve read such a fast-paced book!

When I picked up The Magicians by Lev Grossman years ago...THIS is what I was expecting: a magical system with hand motions and spoken spells. This also has a younger-YA, almost Percy Jackson-esque, narrator. I am HERE for the sass!

Also, I need to get myself a sarcastic squirrel cat of my own ASAP. Anyone know how to hook me up with one? I would be much obliged. ;)
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have to start off this review by letting you all know that Sebastien de Castell is my favorite author, hands down. His writing is so beautiful, his banter leaves my sides hurting from laughter, his characters always find a way to weasel themselves into my heart, and his fantasy stories are a tier above anything else out there right now. He is such a clever and witty writer, and his books are exactly what I want and look for in my fantasy. Oh, and I get a little fangirly when I talk about him a ...more
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
*04 October 2017* - A quick reread before Shadowblack

Reread is done and that was once again, a lot of fun!
Oh, and have I mentioned how gorgeous this book is?


4.5 Stars

Normally when I see a promising sounding book and notice that it is YA, I immediately lower my expectations for it as I have not always had the best experience with the genre. I might be starting to sound like a broken record on that point though. Quite a few great YA books nowadays. Anyways. When Spellslinger quietly showe
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual Rating: 3.75 stars

“First thing you learn wandering the long roads, kid. Everyone thinks they’re the hero of their own story.”

🌟 This is the first book I read by De Castell and definitely not the last. I have been interested in his Greatcoats series but wanted to start this one first because I heard that one was better and I wanted to see how he writes for different audiences.

🌟 The writing is easy to follow, I think it fits perfectly
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, 2019-read
I honestly don’t think this book is terrible, it was a fairly average read for me and I probably would’ve given it a 3 if i hadn’t been so uncomfortable with the scenes of animal abuse. Many times animals were injured or tortured or killed and it was actually very hard for me to read. If it’s easier for you to read those then I would recommend this! The politics can be interesting and I thought it was an interesting take on magic and what it can do to people
✨    jami   ✨
“First thing you learn wandering the long roads, kid. Everyone thinks they're the hero of their own story"

This is gonna be a messy incoherent long kinds review containing untagged spoilers you've been warned

Well this was incredibly disappointing. I have limits to how many times I can feel annoyed in a book and this really surpassed my limits. I'm only giving it three stars because despite how aggravated I was for the second half, I did enjoy the worldbuilding in the first half.

May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good lord. Sebastien de Castell is kinda a god among writers. I have not read a single one of his novels that I haven't loved.

It's really hard to say what I love the most. The characters have such bright and vivid voices, the magic is both interesting and well fleshed-out with wonderful rules and consequences, and the plots are snappy.

This may be a YA novel but that hardly matters to me at all. The reckoning is coming, the buildup and reveals perfect, and the humor sharp and delightful and dark
TS Chan
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-owned
Spellslinger is delightfully fun and engaging read with some serious themes that fit the young adult genre.

I would probably sound like a broken record, but I reiterate that I'm generally not a reader of YA books. So far, the ones that I've enjoyed are those written by authors who've already carved a name for themselves writing adult fantasy books. One of these authors is Sebastien de Castell; his adult fantasy series, Greatcoats, was one which I loved. In Greatcoats, he balanced a dark and pers
Jade Ratley
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I decided to re-read the series after completing it, to pick up on all the hints and secrets, and watch everything unravel again, and oh boy did I have a fun time with this.

It's no secret that I adore this series, and De Castell's writing, it's a style I really get along with and find such fun to read. It was such a pleasure to meet all of these characters again, revisit them meeting for the first time and their first impressions of each other. Knowing how the series ends and where it goes, it'
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read, 4-stars
I had literally never heard of this book before until I went into Dymocks the other day and bought it because I fell in love with the cover. I thought I knew what I was in for when I read the blurb, but I was wrong.

This book was definitely not what I expected and I actually loved it. We follow Kellen who is about to enter into a set of trials that will determine whether he is a Jan'Tep (someone with magic) or a Sha'Tep (someone without magic). However, nothing is as it seems and literally every
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I loved this book!!! I was worried due to the mixed reviews it might not be my cup of tea but I was wrong.

Here we meet Kellen. A poor boy about to be outcast because he doesn’t really have any magic. We also have a flying angry squirrel, a badass heroine and a huge conspiracy to uncover.

When you can’t do magic by your 16th year, you are second class to the Mages in this town. It’s very political and happy to rewrite history - as we all soon learn in this book.

I loved the very witty writing in th
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
This was a super fun read! I highly recommend to people who are just getting into the adult fantasy genre. It’s very light and fast paced with a touch of grit.

This is my first book by this author and I definitely see him becoming a favorite. It has me more excited to read Traitors Blade since that’ll probably be more up my alley.
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, childrns, magic, fantasy
Many thanks to Netgalley who provided me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.Fun, action-packed adventure! I would say middle-grade rather than YA. This book seems to be setting up what will be a new series. Kellen finds out that all is not as it seems in the world in which he has been raised. He is betrayed by those around him and has to find his own way as an outcast. Along the way he befriends a feisty squirrel cat and a mentor who help him to overcome the odds and becom ...more
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

3.5 stars. Albeit not perfect, Spellslinger was just so effortlessly readable. So much that I was genuinely surprised when I checked the number of pages and saw that the story was 400 pages long : never once did I feel their weight.

'First thing you learn wandering the long roads, kid. Everyone thinks they're the hero of their own story.'

The world created by De Castell, while somewhat devoid of strong originality - a world shared by magicians, tricksters, and warriors - still introduces a f
Patricia Crowther
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Advanced copy received via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

Initially I was going to rate this down to 4.5* but I've decided to keep it at the whole 5 stars. I just think that the one single issue I had with it was really minor and overall didn't really have any impact on how much I enjoyed it in the end. That issue was the slight lack of world building at the start. I was a little unclear as to what kind of setting the story was based in and the type of infrastructure I was supposed to i
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this! I have wanted to read it ever since finishing de Castell’s Greatcoats series, but it hasn’t been published in the US prior to July. Lucky me, I don’t have to wait for the next books to be written, only published.

The fact that it is YA made me a little suspicious I’ll admit, but I shouldn’t have worried. It’s the characters that sold me on the Greatcoats, and I think, if anything there’s more to love about this band of misfits. You have Kellen, the magicless mage, disappointment to
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Sebastien de Castell is the real deal, and if I still had any lingering doubts about that…well, then Spellslinger just laid them all to rest. While I’m a huge fan of his Greatcoats series, as we all know, it’s no small thing whenever an author decides to leap genres or go from writing books for adults to writing YA. De Castell, however, brilliantly navigates the traditions and expectations of the genre without a hitch, m
☙ nemo ❧ (pagesandprozac)
i think i'm turning into That Guy Who Hates Everything Everyone Else Loves and that sucks!! what am i missing that everyone else sees!! i want to like things, dammit!

the main plotline was pretty intriguing, with the Jan'Tep and the shadowblack and things. that was pretty cool. but everything was just... boring? the writing was pretty lacklustre, and the occasional humorous line was not enough to save the overall dullness, i'm afraid. the squirrel-cats struck me as... out of place and a bit absu
Lucie V.
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
✅ Gorgeous cover
✅ World-building
✅ Characters
✅ Plot
✅ Pace
✅ Magic

Let's be honest, I bought this book because of its cover... It is just so appealing and gorgeous! That being said, I really enjoyed the story too. It was my first time reading Sebastien de Castell's work and I was not disappointed.

First, I need to say that Kellen's family is just so frustrating. I don't know who I hated more between Kellen's father so full of pride and who thinks he knows better than everybody else, Shalla, the arr
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Tricks are all I have." I said. "Clever. The boy always seeks to be clever."

* * * * .5
4.5 / 5

Kellen is supposed to be earning his mage name; on the cusp of turning sixteen, if he doesn't pass the four trials he'll be relegated to the life of a servant. The problem? He doesn't have any magic any more. It doesn't help that his father is the most powerful mage of their people and his sister, barely thirteen, is already passing all of her trials. This is an absolutely wonderful book that grabbed me
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sebastien de Castell's 'Greatcoats' series was one of the big surprises for me of the last couple years - funny, well-written, exciting, heart-wrenching, and just an incredible read with incredible characters. I quickly fell in love with his writing style and choices, and certainly marked him as one of my new favorite authors.

Spellslinger is not a book I was aware was coming, or even knew that it had come out. I follow Sebastien on social media and never really saw even him mention it, and I onl
Jade Ratley
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite all the mixed reviews I’ve seen about this book, I can truly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were enjoyable, the plot was intriguing, the politics had me drawn in. The magic was fascinating, and the squirrel cat was fabulous.
সালমান হক
Kellen is about to face the wizarding duel that will decide his future as a mage. There is only one problem: His magic has disappeared.

In a society where being a magician is everything (and if you do not pass the trials, you'll end up being a servant of them) it is very difficult to accept not having magic. Especially if your father is one of the best mages in the town. That is Kellen's big problem, for some reason his magic does not work as it should and every time he is closer to the test tha
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
An action-packed coming of age fantasy story that attempts to pull off a gunfighter-Western aesthetic. I'm not sure it's 100% successful at that, but the result is very entertaining.

The Jan'Tep are mages. If they're not mages then they become Sha'Tep, literally second class citizens whose lives are heavily proscribed by their mage overclass. Before their sixteenth birthday every child must take the test that will determine their status for the rest of their lives. Kellen is fifteen and none of h
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fantasy

This was super great at first but then sizzled off significantly. Still fun though. Enjoyed the mc as a narrator lots.
Will read book 2.

This has such polarizing reviews?!
Like I want to read this, but I also don't want to be burned on yet another ya fantasy?

Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
"There's no amount of magic in the world that's worth the price of a man's conscience"

Kellen is about to turn 16, the age when Jan'Tep prove their magical abilities or become a Sha'Tep for the remainder of their lives, serving those who are true mages. As each day gets closer to his birthday, he seems to be loosing more and more magic. It isn't until Ferius Parfax shows up that Kellen starts to realize that a life of servitude isn't the only option.

The Story-Spellslinger was unique enough to
James Islington
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve had a hectic start to this year and there’s certainly plenty for me to be doing over the next six months, so I wasn’t really planning to review (or in fact read) much of anything for a while. However I enjoyed Greatcoats quite a bit, so when I was fortunate enough to be sent Spellslinger - the first in Sebastien de Castell’s new series – I succumbed to temptation pretty quickly.

And, happily, I have no regrets from doing so: this is a tremendously fun, fast-paced read full of wit and action
I have waited for a series I can give my love to for so long. And now it's here.
I love the story, it's different, I love the MC, he is smart and I am curious about what will happen next.
Katerina  Kondrenko
9 out of 10

Oh, how I liked it!

It's a story about The One, only vice verse. Our protagonist is an antipode of Marty Stu. But he won't give up! The world created here is unique, as well as mythology and cultural aspects. I love how de Castell inserted timeless values into the plot. Fans of funny animal sidekicks will find here everything they adore. What else? Unusual pair of main characters. A woman and a boy. No romance is required when you have an awesome bromance!

This series won't blow y
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Hi Folks!

My tenth novel, WAY OF THE ARGOSI is in stores in around the world.

You can get a pair of free stories here.

The best way to stay up to date is at, but I'm also on that Facebook thing. Also that Twitter thing. One day I'll even remember to get on that Instagram thing.

As to who I am? Well . . .

Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started

Other books in the series

Spellslinger (7 books)
  • Fall of the Argosi (Spellslinger, #0.6)
  • Shadowblack (Spellslinger, #2)
  • Charmcaster (Spellslinger, #3)
  • Soulbinder (Spellslinger, #4)
  • Queenslayer (Spellslinger, #5)
  • Crownbreaker (Spellslinger, #6)

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“First thing you learn wandering the long roads, kid. Everyone thinks they're the hero of their own story.
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